Baptism with the Holy Spirit | You Can Be Filled with the Holy Spirit Today!
- Summary: Every genuine Christian is born again by the Holy Spirit. But not all Christians are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Let's look at the difference and see how you can receive both.
Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
- • Jesus is the One who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. All four Gospels say the same thing — that Jesus is the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit.
- • But first Jesus gave His disciples the Holy Spirit in an entirely different way (see next).
John 20:21-22 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
- • New birth…born again by the Spirit. Recall John 3:6-7 — “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’.”
- • This occasion was after Christ’s resurrection, but before the Day of Pentecost. Before His crucifixion, Jesus had made a promise to His disciples: “The [Holy] Spirit … lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). So here Jesus is fulfilling that promise, breathing upon them and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” There is broad agreement among bible scholars that this is the moment when they were born again by the Spirit.
- • But some days later, according to Jesus, these same disciples were to receive another impartation of the Holy Spirit, something in addition to the new birth that they already had.
Acts 1:3-5, 8 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive…  On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” …  you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
- • In John 20:22, after His resurrection from the grave, Jesus had breathed the Holy Spirit into them, and they were born again.
- • Then immediately before returning to heaven, Jesus tells the same disciples that “in a few days [they] will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then (verse 9) Jesus ascended back to heaven.
- • This is not the new birth by the Spirit. They had received that already (John 20:22). And this is not water baptism — [Jesus said] “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
- • And the purpose (vs. 8) of this Holy Spirit anointing in their lives (and ours) was to give them heaven-sent power to be Christ’s witnesses. As T.L. Osborn said in his book by the same name, that is “the Purpose of Pentecost” — to empower us to go beyond our human abilities and to be effective, supernaturally-enabled witnesses to Jesus Christ.
- • Remember the apostle Peter. On the night before Jesus was crucified, he denied Jesus three times! After receiving Holy Spirit power at Pentecost (Acts 1:8; 2:4), the former Christ-denier stood and preached a bold message (2:14-38) that led to the salvation of thousands that very day! (2:41).
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
- • Jesus’ promise of the baptism with the Spirit was fulfilled! They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. And what immediate evidence occurred? — speaking in tongues.
This act of speaking in tongues is the consistent evidence in Scripture that a person is baptized with the Spirit. Some more examples:
- • At the Gentile Cornelius’s house (Acts 10:44-47): While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” Those who had come with Peter knew that the Gentiles had received their personal Pentecost “for they heard them speaking in tongues.” Peter certified that they had received the same baptism with the Spirit that Peter and the others (Acts 2) had received at Pentecost — “They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”
- • The Christians in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-6): [vs. 6] When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
So we see clear examples in Acts 2, Acts 10, and Acts 19 where the believers were baptized with the Holy Spirit and immediately spoke in tongues. This seemed to open the door to additional supernatural manifestations, for example:
- • Acts 2:4; 3:1-8 Peter and John, newly baptized with the Spirit, ministered a miraculous healing to the lame man near the temple.
- • Acts 4:31-33a After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly… [33a] With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
- • Acts 19:6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. The newly Spirit-filled believers began immediately to be used in the gift of prophecy.
This same pattern occurred in the ministry of Jesus Himself. Acts 10:38 tells us “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil.” The bible records no miracles in Jesus’ first 30 years. It was only after His Holy Spirit anointing at River Jordan (Matthew 3:16-17) that Jesus began manifesting His miracles, healings, and casting out of demons (John 2:11).
Acts 2:37-39 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
- • We are commanded to repent and be water baptized. We are promised the baptism with the Holy Spirit. This is a “promise for you” today. It is “for all.” Come to Jesus and receive.
In closing, let me offer a few thoughts from Scripture as you prepare to receive:
1 Corinthians 14:2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.
- • When you speak in tongues, you will be “speaking to God.” You won’t understand it. You’re speaking “by the Spirit.”
14:4, NKJV He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. That’s a good thing! We need all the edification we can get.
14:5, ESV Now I want you all to speak in tongues. The baptism with the Spirit, with speaking in tongues, is for you! Remember how Peter had said, “The promise is for you … for all…”
14:14-15 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. “I will” means you can choose to pray in tongues anytime! It’s not just a onetime occurrence. You can also sing in the spirit, in tongues.
Acts 2:4, NASB And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. You speak. The Holy Spirit doesn’t take over. He gives you utterance, that is, His words for you to speak in a language not known to you.
Today is your day! Look up to Jesus, the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit and power. And begin to speak to God in a Holy Spirit-given language. You will be blessed, and Jesus will be delighted!
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©2016, James H. Feeney.
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by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.